We can’t overestimate the importance of health education and literacy, and its impact on the overall health and wellness of the American public. The Affordable Care Act attempted to standardize how health insurance terms are defined and presented in the Summary of Benefits and Coverage. But in a surprising twist, the effect of government intervention has in many ways made health insurance more confusing, confounding, and frustrating for consumers.
Health literacy has a direct relationship to health outcomes. Low health literacy contributes to poorer health outcomes and inefficient use of health care services that cost the U.S. hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Nearly 9 out of 10 adults have trouble using health information to make informed decisions about their health.
While other attempts are being made to increase health literacy nationwide, insurance companies, doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, translators, and employers all have a role to play in giving people simple, actionable information.
Improving national health literacy levels isn’t an abstract problem that’s better left to public health care systems to solve. There are simple ways every company can effect change within its organization.